Cutoffs Can Be Chic

Oh yes, we absolutely can.

Wear shorts, that is.


I begin my post with a sense of utter outrage.

In the process of conducting due diligence and research to write this, I came across multitudes of so-called style experts dishing out the most ridiculous of counsel to women on whether cutoffs (or the entire spectrum of shorts, for that matter) were age-appropriate.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’d just taken my Bystolic (and that I’m physically drained from a very exhausting weekend of work + play, with the last vestiges of jet lag thrown in for good measure), I suspect I’d have suffered a fit right then and there.  Or, at the very least, hurled verbal abuses at said culprits vis-à-vis the sanctity of my home office which would, in truth, serve no higher purpose save to leave me with the cringey task of wiping smatterings of spit from my laptop screen.

O U T R A G E D ,    I    T E L L    Y O U

First of all, anyone who specialises in what’s called “mum style” instantly raises the red flag where I’m concerned.  As it is with (that ridiculous notion of) dressing for one’s age, what on earth does “mum style” even mean?

Special mention must be made of this particular website wherein cutoffs are to be frowned upon because (1) we look like we’re trying too hard; (2) shorts are meant only for PYTs with great bodies; and (3) we can’t possibly have nice legs at “our age” so no, we should never wear those things called shorts.  Yes, those evil concoctions which when chosen carefully, reveal and showcase those pins in the most flattering of circumstances.  Oh no, heaven forbid that should happen because, you know, once a woman turns 40, she’s expected to crawl quietly into the dark abyss of no-style-land to shrivel into obscurity, and fade away.  And not look amazing in anything remotely stylish or form-revealing.

Rant over.


G  A  H  !  !  !

I am irked.

Can you tell how irked I am?

For as long as women continue to dish out this nonsensical words, other women will keep thinking of their counsel as gospel, and thus does the vicious cycle continue.

We must put an end to this mentality, and do away with the thought process which likens ageing to decrepitating (puhlease).  Age is truly nothing more than a duo of numbers.  And numbers are merely mathematical objects, used to count and measure.  Unfortunately, society has expanded their use to also label.  Classify.  Designate.  Stamp.

In other words, a label has been placed on how old a woman is, equating it with her self-worth, appeal quotient, her value.

When in truth, every single scar, every single stretch mark, every single imperfection bears witness to everything she has been through to become the woman she is today.  A strong, proud, beautiful woman.  One that should be fiercely celebrated and loved.

As July emerged on the horizon, and it came to Annie to select our monthly theme, I knew with dead certainty that she’d pick cutoffs (I swear, I did Annie!!).  After all, she practically lives in them all year round in Hong Kong, owns the largest wardrobe of shorts (and sneakers) I’ve ever known for one person to have, and looks killer in every single pair.

With that knowledge in mind, I’d begun mentally assembling my look even before I went away to Borneo.  I was fully aware I wanted a blend of couture with high street.

Something immensely melodramatic on top, with something ripped and distressed below, to create a perfectly contrasting, off-kilter look.

I hope to have accomplished that here today.

I’d like to imagine this particular ensemble walking loud and proud in front of press and spectators alike at the VMAs, appreciated by all age groups and sartorial genres for its singular visual impact.  Those bold stripes placed so carefully and artfully make for a graphic statement (with enough room to chow down upon the sumptuous meal that is certainly in store for all VMA attendees).  And that Daisy Duke-esque pair of cutoffs looks simultaneously youthful and romantic, calling attention to legs which have traversed many a mile, and walked through countless adventures.  And lived to tell the tale.

It photographs beautifully, this outfit does.

Come see what my fellow fierce friends have put together, in the name of cutoffs this month.  It’s very insightful, looking at their individual interpretations and the lengths (and styles) they’re at ease with.  And the various settings in which they perceive denim cutoffs to be most apt.

Take a look.

Ann, Kremb de la Kremb

Ann | Kremb de la Kremb

Simple and fun is what Ann does best, and here she proves that again in that gorgeous Wrangler tee with one of her countless denim cutoffs.  Perfectly paired with killer smile, sun-kissed legs, and a cool drink.

Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps

Mary | Curlybyrdie Chirps

I didn’t even realise cutoff shorts existed in longer lengths.  Had I known, I would’ve started wearing them ages ago!!  Beautiful blend of blue on blue, Mary, with the prettiest of crochet appliqué trims.  So pretty.

Suzy, Suzy Turner

Suzy | Suzy Turner

Props, Suzy, for wearing two cutoff pieces 🙂 and dowdy is certainly not a word I’ve EVER use to describe you!!!  There is a definite grunge vibe here, and I’m loving it. Casting a heart eye emoji on that Desigual backpack too.

Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots

Jennie | A Pocketful of Polka Dots

Now this is the perfect case study for a bohemian vibe, wouldn’t you agree?  Lace and crochet going head on with denim and dark leather.  Delicious.  I don’t know how she does it but Jennie always manages to make everything look easy and effortless.

For this month, we have the lovely Monika as our guest.

Monika | Style Is My Pudding

If I am to be completely honest, I was a little upset with Ann for inviting Monika as our guest this month because I’d been wanting to do the same for August, when it’s my turn GRIN which lets you know how awesome a style a woman has when more than one blogger has her in mind for a collaboration.  I mean, head over to her blog, and you’ll instantly understand why Monika is such a cool cat.  Plus I have serious hair envy whenever I look at her pink tresses.  My level of #girlcrushing went through the roof when I saw Monika’s cutoff outfit because, you know, it’s a damn skirt!!  My mind had gone straight to shorts and never once strayed to consider that there may be other cutoff options out there (smacks forehead).  How glorious does she look!!  Thank you so much for being a part of The Fab 40s, Monika!!!

And here’s me.

Top (Poshmark ) | Cutoffs (Blank NYC sold out, preloved here) | Sunnies (Chanel)

Happy Monday, everyone!!  As I write this, I’ve been back precisely a week from a month long vacation in Borneo, and am still suffering from jet lag which is really annoying but worth it to be able to see my family 🙂 I hope everyone has a decent start to a new Monday.




Love, Sheela

p/s I link up here.


8 Replies to “Cutoffs Can Be Chic”

  1. Gah, woman! I just love the drama and surprise of this look. I love how you took denim cutoffs to the next level and you definitely have me thinking of future possibilities within my own wardrobe. Your photos are simply gorgeous! I think you and I may have read the same article(s), all of which fall into the category of “To Be Ignored”.


  2. Dearest Sheela – I swear you could be a model for some edgy high-fashion magazine in this striped and ruffled confection of a blouse and embroidered cut-off shorts!! You accomplished EXACTLY what you set out to do; you’ve created a look worthy of award show adulation…and your “voguing’ skills have me green with envy!! P.S. A thousand thank-you’s for making me feel so welcome in the Fab 40’s roundup; I’d be thrilled to be invited back the NEXT time it’s your turn to choose a guest!! 😘


  3. Sheela, not only do you look so utterly captivating in this ensemble, but I also LOVE how irked you got at those websites daring to tell us what not to wear! I feel exactly the same as you do and wish these people would just stop and get a life already!
    I’m exciting to see what you have in store for us next month!!
    Hugs, my friend
    Suzy xxx


  4. Ugh, I don’t want to even research what you did. I’m red in the face just knowing that you found articles out there saying NO to my staple. Heck, I’m arrested by now. You know, from what Jennie said (she received a glance! which makes me so mad) and your research, I wonder if I’ve just been oblivious to others. As you know I wear them pretty much all the time. I can’t/shouldn’t wear them to work, but I’ve started! (Don’t worry: I wear like a short shift over them or something like that.) Anyway, I’ve never given cut offs a second thought. Ever. I guess when I found out about them in high school out at the lake, I’ve just never stopped.

    I love your extreme flare here! It’s soooooo amazing! I mean that top! But really what we should all be gawking about are your damn legs GURL! STRONG!! WowZa!! I wish you would have sent over a full length option because those gams need to be celebrated!

    Here’s to more short shorts in both of our futures Dear Sheela!

    Love, Anni


  5. Your writing and description of things is always so perfect and spot-on. I couldn’t agree more about the numbers and ages, and ‘dated rules’ so-called experts put upon us. Who made them experts anyway?! My own mom is guilty of that, old-school she is. She frowns upon some of the outfits I wear lol, because you know I am pushing 40. But guess what, I am between a size 2 or 4 and I have been told I have good curves and great legs, so why not?! Some of my outfits get stares and not the best looks, but guess what I am the one wearing them and they shouldn’t “bother” anyone else. Your striped asymmetric top is a work of art an graphics. So beautiful, edgy, feminine and unique. Perfect with distressed cutoffs. Actually you all rocked the ‘theme’ this month and I love what you wrote about Annie and Monika, too.

    Happy Weekend Beautiful Sheela and hope the jet lag goes away soon!


  6. I totally, deeply appreciate your rant about women over 40 and shorts. The week after next I turn 61–and I am still wearing shorts, some of them cutoffs, and happy to do so. Go us!


  7. Can I just say that you look amazingggg in shorts? And that top is making all my ruffled dreams come true! But seriously, there are no “rules” of what to where and when. I feel like women of all ages should embrace their bodies and wear what makes them happy!



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